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LNJP opted for costlier machine. Why?

delhi Updated: May 28, 2009 22:22 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times
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Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP), the largest hospital run by Delhi government, has wasted taxpayer’s money —your money — by buying imported equipment at more than double the market cost.

A similar equipment is made and sold in India at one-fifth the price the hospital chose to pay for it.
Located near Delhi Gate on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, LNJP Hospital recently bought 170 Heine German BP apparatus (XXL-Gamma) at Rs 11,500 per unit.

The market rate for similar equipment is Rs 5,150 per unit. The difference of Rs 6,350 per equipment for 170 pieces cost taxpayers Rs 10,79,500.

Similar machines of different brands in India cost Rs 2,500- Rs 3,000 per unit.

HT has copies of the requisition letter signed by procurement officer Dr H.S. Hira and the invoice dated October 10, 2008, from Swastik Diagnostics and Equipments Private Limited.

Two professors (name withheld on request) in the department of medicine, who were also members of the equipment-approval committee, refused to approve the deal citing high prices.

LNJP did not call for open tenders, which is the Delhi government norm.

Other hospitals like G.B. Pant had refused to buy the equipment on these prices- a short note from its medical director Dr
Veena Choudhary said, “Only to be obtained through open tender.”

Regarding the cost of equipment, S.P. Gupta, director of Swastik Diagnostics, said, “We have given a unique 10-year warranty on disposable parts and special stands for it.”

“Also, the constantly-changing foreign exchange rates must have reflected on the total cost.”
Dr Swaraj Batra, LNJP’s then officiating medical superintendent, said, “We did not call for fresh tenders as another Delhi government hospital — Janakpuri Superspecialty Hospital — had bought about 90 pieces using the same rate contract.”

“There is nothing wrong in the procurement process.”
Dr Batra said they needed to replace the mercury BP monitors because they were a “continuous nuisance because of their short lifespan”.

“At LNJP, we do not compromise on quality. The charges are higher because the equipment is imported and is of very good quality. Moreover, there we have also procured three-year warranty on the equipment,” said procurement officer Dr Hira.

He couldn’t explain why the machine was bought at double the market price. “We only followed the existing rate chart,” he said.